June 20 2013 Latest news:
By Matt Hunter
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
THE new police and crime commissioner in Suffolk caused controversy last night just days in to his new £70,000-a-year job by refusing to quit as a councillor.
Tim Passmore announced his resignation as leader of Mid Suffolk council yesterday - but his decision to remain as a councillor was attacked by political opponents.
Mr Passmore will step into the new role on Thursday but leader of the opposition Andrew Stringer at Mid Suffolk District Council has claimed he will have a conflict of interests and will not have time to carry out the two jobs.
Speaking after yesterday’s council meeting in which Mr Passmore resigned, Mr Stringer said: “This new role as police commissioner as far as we are concerned - it’s more than a full-time job.
“The role of district councillor is, and can be, quite demanding. I have two roles - district and county councillor - and it’s very demanding.”
Mr Passmore received almost £18,000 in allowances from Mid Suffolk last year but would expect to see that significantly reduced to about £3,700 as councillor.
He said he had received a lot of support for staying on as a councillor: “I do not know what Mr Stringer is talking about. I have taken advice and there’s no reason to resign.
“I fundamentally do not agree with him, I will monitor it and see how it develops. It’s never been a problem in the past and I do not anticipate a problem in the future.”
The councillor for Helmingham and Coddenham added he was used to working long hours and members were encouraged to have full-time jobs alongside their council commitments.
The controversy surrounding the new police and crime commissioner positions grew last Friday with the elections which saw a turnout in Suffolk of just over 16%.
Mr Stringer also claimed there was a conflict of interests with Mr Passmore’s two jobs: “We feel as do many people, that he should consider his position as councillor because he will have a conflict of interests.”
Mr Stringer said he did not question Mr Passmore’s ability as a councillor but added people would question why his “tremendous” commissioner salary was paid if both roles could be carried out.
Deputy leader of Mid Suffolk, councillor Derrick Haley, has stepped in as interim leader until a permanent leader is announced at a full council meeting on December 20.